In this post, I outline the main things that I did to reduce my hypertension to normal levels using natural methods.
I did so out of necessity and, as the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention.
Abraham Lincoln said:
If I am given six hours to chop down a tree, I would spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.
That is what I did. I did my research. Initially it was to find the local pharmacies and then to visit them to see if they stocked my medications and, if not, to ascertain whether they would stock it. That drew a negative, so that line on research was closed.
Next, I did extensive online research to get more information on the dietary and lifestyle changes that may be required. I don’t smoke, so there wasn’t any need to waste time on that. Nor did I need to do much about my alcohol consumption as it was well within the guidelines.
That left exercise, diet and relaxation.
Most of our journeys were short, so we walked or cycled unless we had a load to transport. On most days I also lent a helping hand on the family farm for a couple of hours starting at the crack of dawn.
There was also something deeply relaxing about being on the farm in the fresh dawn air and seeing the mist rolling down the nearby wooded hills.
The exercise box was ticked.
Diet was where I had to be creative. All of our food was fresh. There was no supermarket within 30 km and the nearest 7 Eleven convenience store was 15km away. If we did not grow it ourselves, we bought it at the local market or from a farmer, or picked it from the wild.
There was an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices available locally. We had banana plants in the garden as well as on the farm. Although the cash crop was cassava, we also grew a variety of fruits, herbs and vegetables. We bought rice from the sister-in-law’s rice mill. Fresh pork, chicken and fish were also available.
I had been prescribed an ACE inhibitor by my doctor. I learnt from my research that bananas contain an ACE inhibitor as does garlic. I had an abundant supply of both.
I made smoothies using two medium sized bananas and a pot of youghurt purchased from the local shop. I had this nearly every day. If I felt hungry between meals, I had a banana.
Garlic, both cooked and raw was an integral part of the local cuisine or was served as a garnish. I ensured that I consumed four cloves of raw garlic on most days.
Other than the yoghurt I mentioned, the only dairy poduct available locally was fresh eggs. Green tea was available from the local shop, so I made green tea with ginger. Roselle, part of the hibiscus family, was also available either as dried flowers or sold as a readymade drink. The latter was usually heavily sweetened, but I had it without sugar – much to the bemusement of the vendor. Green tea is rich in caffeine, which is a natural diuretic and roselle (unsweetened) is also a mild diuretic.
The local cuisine used a lot of chilli – cooked, and raw as a condiment. We grew chillies on the farm. A study of 606 Chinese adults found that those who prefer spicy food consumed less sodium and had lower blood pressures than their mild-palate counterparts.
Because of the heat, it was necessary to drink plenty of bottled water each day to keep hydrated.
The time working on the farm and doing other outdoor activities ensured that I had sufficient vitamin D, which helps to control blood pressure.
There I had the dietary foundation to replace the hypertension medication prescribed by my doctor. Having a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables ensured I got all the necessary nutrients and together they ticked the diet box. That left …
In the heat of the day, the Spanish take a siesta. As in Spain, from about 11am to 4pm it was too hot for me to do any work. Most of the locals also took a siesta at this time. I found a shady spot that had a gentle breeze in which to put my reclining chair and chilled out reading a book on my Kindle or just emptying my mind of any thoughts – or at least trying to.
I also used breathing exercises, and still do.
Massage was an important part of the local culture that not only had physiological benefits, but also mental health benefits arising from the state of deep relaxation that it could engender. I found that having a massage at least once a month was very beneficial and helped to maintain my lowered blood pressure.
The relaxation box was ticked.
What else did I do?
I monitored my blood pressure twice a day at the same time and under the same conditions and kept a record of the results. I did this for 14 days initially, and then for seven days every month. I still do it to this day, albeit the interval is now two months.
There are always ups and downs in life but, importantly, I was happy.
A combination of necessity and locally available resources enabled me to reduce my hypertension to normal levels using natural methods that included diet, exercise and relaxation.
The other posts on this blog describe the results of the research I did and talk about the benefits of various foods and exercises for reducing hypertension by natural methods.